Each Friday Topsail News Online’s Lee Wagner will give a breakdown of each game our four local high school football teams will play. The feature will include breakdowns for not only our local team but their opponents. Stay tuned each week
TOPSAIL PIRATES AT NORTH PITT PANTHERS
WHERE & WHEN: At North Pitt High School, Bethel, 7:30 p.m.
COACHES: Topsail – Bryan Davis, 7th year (40-25); North Pitt – David Boal.
SEASON’S RECORD: Topsail is 7-3 after wins over Swansboro (14-7), Richlands (41-6), Croatan (32-14), Clinton (28-14), South Lenoir (47-20), Ashley (26-7), and Trask (16-13), and losses to Pender (22-20), Northside (35-10), and East Duplin (26-21). North Pitt is 7-4 with wins over Beddingfield (20-19), Farmville Central (34-6), Southwest Edgecombe (27-24), Northern Vance (49-7), Greene Central (42-20), Ayden-Grifton (30-18), and South Creek (54-6), and losses to Kinston (28-16), Tarboro (41-24), D. H. Conley (28-24), and Washington (28-20).
LAST PLAYED: Topsail beat North Pitt 13-10 on Nov. 5, 2011 in first round of playoffs.
COMMON OPPONENTS: None.
NEXT OPPONENT: Winner of this game plays the winner of game between Northside (10-0) and Croatan (6-4).
KEY PLAYERS FOR NORTH PITT: K Octavio Alonso, QB Christopher Perry, RB Brian Staton, RB Cedric Razor.
KEY PLAYERS FOR TOPSAIL: Sr. RB/OLB Devin Williams, Soph. QB Austin Schoenleber, Sr. QB/WR/OLB Matt Gilgo, Sr. TE/DE Trevor Savidge, Sr. TE/LB Mason Kimmel, Sr. OL/DE Ben Houghton, Jr. OL/LB Jakeem Smith, Sr. PK Alex Webster, RB/LB Josh Jessup, RB Hunter Jacob.
FOR NORTH PITT TO WIN: Not knowing what type of offense or defense the Panthers play, the only thing we can go on are results and statistics. They have scored 340 points (30.9 per game) but 220 of them have come against teams with a combined record of 15-43. They have given up 220 (20.9 per game) – 41 of them to unbeaten Tarboro. So they can score and they play shaky defense. They need to move the ball consistently against the Pirates to keep their defense off the field and rested. When their defense is out there then must stop the run and see what happens. If they turn the ball over with any regularity it will be a long night in Bethel.
FOR TOPSAIL TO WIN: If healthy this is a pretty darn good, and versatile, football team so it would appear the Pirates should be able to move the ball, they just need to do it with sustained drives. Defensively don’t give up any big plays, make the Panthers get to the end zone by grinding it out, and creating a few turnovers on defense wouldn’t hurt, either.
PREDICTION: Topsail beat North Pitt 13-10 last year and I think this is a better Pirates’ team. It’s tough that they have to play on the road but that’s due to the stupid loss to East Duplin. If healthy I think the Pirates are good enough to beat this team. Healthy means Williams and Jessup need to be at full strength. I also like the fact they have a guy named Alec Webster kicking for them. Winner gets the prize that is unbeaten Northside and I think the Pirates would relish that opportunity.
Topsail 24, North Pitt 13.
PENDER PATRIOTS AT WALLACE-ROSE HILL BULLDOGS
WHERE & WHEN: At Legion Stadium, Wallace, 7:30 p.m.
COACHES: Pender – Tony Hudson, 2nd year (8-13); WRH – Joe Price.
SEASON’S RECORD: Pender is 5-5 with wins over Trask (34-0), Lakewood (38-17), Midway (46-13), Hobbton (52-0), and Topsail (22-20), and loses to WRH (28-14), James Kenan (40-20), Union (35-28), Whiteville (41-18), and North Brunswick (21-16). WRH is 7-4 with wins over Hobbton (47-25), Pender (28-14), Union (27-13), Trask (38-0), Midway (13-10), Lakewood (27-24), and Whiteville (27-16), and losses to James Kenan 21-20), East Duplin (38-6), New Hanover (28-7), and Clinton (14-7).
LAST PLAYED: WRH beat Pender 28-14 on Oct. 12, 2012.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Both teams have played their entire Tri-County 1A Conference schedule and both have played Whiteville. Pender lost to Whiteville, James Kenan, and Union, and WRH beat Whiteville and everyone else in the conference except James Kenan.
NEXT GAME: Winner of this game plays winner of game between Red Springs (8-2) and Midway (5-5).
KEY PLAYERS FOR WRH: FB/LB Dion Kenan, RB/D Qayle Robinson, K Brian Pacheco.
KEY PLAYERS FOR PENDER: Soph. FB Sam Dixon, QB Nickey Wells, OL/DL Kymothy Murphy, OL/DL Jacob Dew, RB/LB Caleb Johnson, WR/S Rashawn Deloach, RB/CB Julius Powell, G/DE Zach Jones, T/DE Andre Donaldson
FOR WRH TO WIN: The Bulldogs rushed for 215 yards – 102 in the second half – in a game that was tied 14-14 at the half the last time these two teams played. They must do at least that if they want a second win over the Patriots. Defensively they need to play the entire game the way they did in the second half against Pender, holding them to 10 yards rushing and a total of 44 offensive yards in the last 24 minutes of the game.
FOR PENDERTO WIN: WRH is good and has a set of hard-running and quick backs, and Hudson and the Patriots know that, and they know they must contain that running game if they have any hopes of an upset – yes, it would be an upset – here. Must run the ball consistently, hold onto the football, and finish drives with six, not three or less. Defensively make the Bulldogs throw the ball and let’s see if they can win that way.
PREDICTION: Oh how I’d love to pick Pender here! But WRH is good and they played tough against a very good James Kenan team a week ago, and I think they will be hungry for another shot at the Tigers. That said, if Pender can generate a full game of offense, and slow down the Bulldogs’ rung game, who knows?
WRH 24, Pender 21.
DIXON BULLDOGS AT GOLDSBORO COUGARS
WHERE & WHEN: At Goldsboro High School, Goldsboro, 7:30 p.m.
COACH: Dixon – Ray Swaney, 4th year (17-27); Goldsboro – Eric Reid.
SEASON’S RECORD: Dixon is 7-3 after wins over Lejeune (33-12), East Carteret (41-16), Jones Sr. (27-13), Pamlico (37-14), Spring Creek (33-7), Princeton (24-20) and Mattamuskeet (34-0), and losses to Southwest Onslow (48-19), Swansboro (30-22) and North Duplin (28-24). Goldsboro is 9-1 with wins over Ayden-Grifton (30-25), Spring Creek (61-12), Princeton (56-16), Rosewood (54-0), North Duplin (41-18), Red Springs (34-78), Southern Wayne (37-14), C. B. Aycock (14-7), and Eastern Wayne (48-26). Their only loss was in their season opener to powerful 4A New Hanover (67-6).
LAST PLAYED: Have not played in last 12 (since 2004) seasons.
COMMON OPPONENTS: Both teams have played Princeton, North Duplin, and Spring Creek. Goldsboro beat all thee by a combined score of 131-41 Dixon beat Princeton by four and Spring Creek by 26 but lost to North Duplin by four.
NEXT GAME: The winner of this game will play the winner of the game between Northampton (9-1) and Riverside-Martin (6-4).
KEY PLAYERS FOR GOLDSBORO: None available.
KEY PLAYERS FOR DIXON: Sr. QB/S C. D. Hansley, Sr. C Travis Padgett, Sr. TE/DE Bryan Moore, Sr. T/DT Austin Rosensteel, Sr. DT Jake Strong, Sr. DT Eric Parker.
FOR GOLDSBORO TO WIN: This bunch can really score, having racked up 381 points in 10 games (38.1 per game) while giving up just 19.2 per game (192). Don’t know much about their offense or defense but if they can move the ball consistently against a pretty good Bulldogs’ defense and do not turn the ball over, they will put points on the board. Defensively, contain Dixon’s Hansley and see where it goes from there
FOR DIXON TO WIN: This one is going to be all about defense and the Buldogs must find a way to slow down this explosive offense or it will be a very long night. Best way to beat a good offensive team is to keep their offense on the sidelines with long sustained drives, don’t turn the ball over, and get some turnovers of your own. All three will be needed if Bulldogs are to survive.
PREDICTION: Scoring stats (Goldsboro scores 38.1 per game and Dixon averages 18.8 per game) says this has all the makings of a blowout but there have been several games in which the Bulldogs have gone against the odds and won. Still, Cougars look really tough and they have a playoff history, and a playoff record 9-5 since 2007 and I think that is a huge advantage against what could potentially be a starry-eyed Dixon group. Plus the Cougars have annihilated three common foes by a combined 90 points, and Dixon beat two of them by a combined total of 30 points before losing to North Duplin. Comparative scores mean little, I know, but….
Goldsboro 35, Dixon 14.